The Hazards of a National Geographic Photographer...

Reality Check

This page is dedicated to Wes Skiles who died doing the work he loved. Sadie Quarrier, senior photo editor, National Geographic Magazine says:   “I was lucky enough to work with Wes as his photo editor on (his) “Bahamas Blue Holes” story for NGM. He was deeply passionate about diving, exploring, photographing and protecting the waterways… Wes was big-hearted and humble yet extremely driven. He was doggedly determined to produce the best possible article on these caves he called home. He dared to dream big, and no budget or contract would stop him from going after a shot he felt we needed, even if it was on his own dime…”

There have been other deaths over the years and many serious injuries. The posts below are recent survey responses from 45 photographers about some of the hazards encountered while on assignment for the National Geographic Society. The numbers represent individual incidents.

It's a Glamorous Life

  • 13

    Run Checkpoint

  • 1

    Viper in Camera Bag

  • 1

    Chased by Crocodile

  • 33

    Arrest or House Arrest

  • 29

    Frostbite (23 for one photographer)

  • 1

    Diagnosed PTSD

  • 7

    Dislocations

  • 1

    Penis Fish

  • 13

    Robbed

  • 12

    Falls

  • 5

    Malaria

  • 2

    Lost in Andes

  • 9

    Hypothermia

  • 7

    Car or Bus Crash

  • 8

    Giardia

  • 3

    Beaten

  • 1

    Hotel Surrounded by Rebels

  • 1

    Flesh Eating Parasites

  • 2

    Stoned by Religious Group

  • 3

    Chased by Wild Elephant

  • 3

    Extreme Toxins

  • 1

    Strongyloide Invasion

  • 1

    Punched in Face

  • 10

    Rope Burn

  • 3

    Trips into Chernobyl Reactor

  • 1

    Meningitis

  • 1

    Attack by 9,000 pound Elephant Seal

  • 2

    Buried in Avalanche

  • 1

    Dengue Fever

  • 30

    Wound Infection

  • 1

    Paraglider Crash Landing on Sea Ice

  • 1

    Paraglider Crash Landing in Tree

  • 20

    Amoebic Dysentery

  • 4

    Tear Gassed

  • 1

    Paraglider Crash Landing in Ocean

  • 6

    Broken Ribs

  • 4

    Broken Bones

  • 1

    Hunted with Bows and Arrows

  • 12

    Severe Insect Problems

  • 90

    Severe Diarrhea

  • 16

    Various Parasites

  • 21

    Paraglider Crash

  • 9

    Groped

  • 1

    Bit by Ticks (in my penis)

  • 2

    Seat Belt Releases with Helicopter Tipped Over Volcano

  • 1

    Acid Dripping Caves

  • 2

    Temporary Blindness

  • 5

    Plane or Helicopter Crash

  • 1

    Land on Rock Ledge After 90 Foot Fall

  • 1

    Stabbed

  • 1

    Lost at Sea

  • 2

    Broken Nose

  • 1

    Streaming Blood While Hanging from Harness at 1500 feet

  • 19

    Severe Dehydration

  • 8

    Assorted Animal Attacks

  • 1

    Blinded by Wasps

  • 2

    Fall Into Crevasse

  • 1

    Held at Knifepoint

  • 1

    Scaffolding Collapse

  • 1

    Out of Air Diving Under Sea Ice

  • 2

    Held at Gunpoint

  • 1

    Loa-Loa Worm in Eye

  • 2

    Assault by Florida panther. 2 photographers, 2 assignments, same panther.

  • 1

    Spitting Cobra Attacks

  • 21

    Threatened / Detained / Abducted

  • 1

    Broken Tail Bone

  • 4

    Burns

  • 1

    Out of Air Diving Under Oil Rig

  • 6

    Random Assault

  • 3

    Imprisoned

  • 9

    Venomous Bites